I like it.
I was thinking about what made Stranger Things such a successful show. There’s so many elements that could (and did) attribute to it’s success. Nostalgia, fun and fleshed out characters, thrilling scenarios and an interesting world. This show has a lot going for it.
What would I attribute it’s success to? It’s unique and approachable.
What makes a show WORK? Well that’s simple, a show works when it executes it’s ideas and narrative well.
Many shows and movies now-a-days seem like they are manufactured in order to reach as broad an audience as possible. Marvel is an excellent example of this: Marvel movies are fun, exciting, and humorous. They have a formula that is intended to reach a large amount of people, and to be entertaining to those people. They are successful because they (often) make quality movies that effectively pull off their formula.
Movies and television shows attempting to become successful based off of their approachability is a trap though. They do not become successful because they appeal to a broad audience. They become successful because they are made well.
I would make the point that Stranger Things is so successful because it is extremely approachable while also being unique. Never in my life have I ever wanted to watch sci-fi thrillers; yet I love Stranger Things. That’s a testament to it’s quality.
I had fun watching season 3 of Stranger Things. It sucks you in with an interesting story about aliens from a different dimension, Russian spies, a kid with super-powers and her friends who are trying to get to the bottom of all the weird things that are happening in their small town.
It has characters that you can relate to. It has dialogue that is fun and forwards the plot. It uses humor to take the edge off of the intense situations, and has kids taking their lives into their own hands attempting to save their town.
The show takes something that could easily be made for a niche audience (sci-fi thriller. Scary monsters.) and makes it fun and easy to watch using relatable characters, intelligent writing, and humor.
It’s a great example of how shows and movies are more successful when they focus on the right things, and do them well. There are plenty of movies and shows that have interesting and unique ideas that are bad. They’re bad because they don’t focus on characterization and good storytelling. I won’t care about how interesting the premise of a show is if I don’t care about the characters. Stranger Things made me care about the characters first, and I was so sucked in that I completely forgot that I’m not the least bit interested in sci-fi thrillers.
So, you know, watch it.
Oh you thought I was going to actually review it and talk about story beats or summarize episodes or something?